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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: March 1, 2016 12:48 PM
From: Senator Andrew E. Dinniman
To: All Senate members
Subject: Budget Impasse Legislation (SB1124)
In response to the ongoing budget impasse, I have introduced SB 1124, legislation requiring the legislature to remain in continuous session, meeting every day without leave, without pay, without reimbursements, and without per diems, if a complete budget is not passed and signed by July 1. The same goes for the governor, his senior staff and cabinet members.

In addition to requiring legislators and the governor to forfeit their salaries and reimbursement payments when budgets run late, Senate Bill 1124 also calls for the following:
  • Requires the legislature to vote on and pass a complete budget plan by May 1 – two months before the current deadline – in order to allow additional time for negotiations in case of a veto.

  • Requires any meetings between legislative leaders and the governor after June 30 be open to the public.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Pennsylvania’s budget runs past the July 1 deadline 37 percent of the time. There is no question that entering a fiscal year without a finalized budget has potentially disastrous and widespread impacts. Other states have enacted measures to help avoid budget stalemates and to spur lawmakers to action when partisan gridlock begins to set in and it is time for Pennsylvania to do the same. In California, a legislator's pay can be suspended and Washington law allows legislators to be charged with a criminal misdemeanor for failing to pass an on-time budget.

When budgets run late, the legislature, the governor and the cabinet – not the people – should face consequences of not fulfilling their constitutional obligation to provide an on-time budget.

I hope you will join me in supporting this legislation.

Introduced as SB1124